Why is it good to attempt writing poetry? Part 1

Courage - Part 1The more astute reader will have noticed how I’ve  phrased that opening question.

If I had used a heading like, ‘Is it good to attempt poetry?’ it wouldn’t have the same effect. My aim is to prove that poetry can work for writers – of all levels.

As always, please remember that any definitions or comments given in my posts are my own, unless otherwise stated.

What is a poem?

1. A poem is a piece of creative writing which is usually broken into bite-sized chunks.

2. The bite-sized chunks are called verses, or stanzas.

3. The stanzas might rhyme at the end of each line, or each alternative line, or not at all. Don’t worry, we’re not going to delve into the details or different types. It’s not a poetry lesson.

4. A poem is creative, and therefore is usually descriptive. In other words, it’s like telling a story, but in short bursts.

5. It can be done in as few or as many short bursts, (verses, or stanzas), as you please.

How can  a writer use a poem as an aid?

Unlike a short story idea which might take a few attempts to get started, a poem takes very little effort, and it doesn’t have to rhyme.

Try creating a beginning, a middle and an end. Three stanzas of four lines each; no more, no less. An example?

‘A Fighter Pilot’s Day’


Jack took off in his plane

a fighter in the air

He’d be shot at once again

at fear again he’d stare


The ‘dog-fight’ was Jack’s worst

his craft was torn apart

Damaged by a burst

of bullets at the start


Landing would be hard

to miss the town he’d try

A field was Jack’s last card

he accepted he would die


That just took me less than ten minutes. I believe that those three simple verses could be developed into a credible short story.

In a short series of posts, I aim to prove my point, that poetry is indeed a good thing for a writer to attempt. I hope you’ll come along on the journey, and remember, we’ll all get more out of the journey if we travel together. Don’t just think a response – write it as a comment for the rest of us.

Do you agree? Disagree? Not sure?

Thank you for reading.


Tea, Breaks, and Inspiration

A couple of days ago, I constructed a new section in my website, titled: Tea, Breaks, and Inspiration, which at first glance might cause the casual observer to question the relevance to writing or art. 

Gaining inspiration in a castle, high above the Mosel River - Cochem, Germany
Gaining inspiration in Reichsburg Castle, high above the Mosel River – Cochem, Germany

Whilst out and about, whether on a shopping trip, a day away, or on holiday; I always carry a notebook and pen. Yes, always. Some passages in my novels and short stories were born during a tea or coffee break, either when out for the day, or on holiday.

A camera is useful, especially if on your phone, as I’ve discovered since buying my first Smartphone a few weeks ago. I have also been known to use a digital voice recorder. Having said that; I’m still convinced that nothing works quite as well as a few well-chosen words in a notebook.

You can be imaginative, or you can use Google and Wikipedia, but nothing captures the atmosphere, architecture, and general feel of a museum or other location, quite like the written word, dealt with, right there on the scene. On the odd occasion, I’ve been visiting a city and stopped for a few minutes, to write down what I see. People, vehicles, buildings, and the occasional snippet of conversation can be noted.

When I’m sitting with my tea or coffee in front of me … and piece of cake of course, I look at my brief notes, and top them up with a little information. I believe ‘real’ research gives creative writing an authority, and that can only come from the confidence of the writer.


What are you waiting for? Get your notebook, and go out for a while.